Kate Dore, a social media consultant in Nashville, Tenn., has accrued an online following by posting her quarterly net worth on her blog, Cashville Skyline. A member of the Millennial generation, she's both transparent about her finances—and hitting that age where she's putting some thought into her financial future.
"I was a concert promoter, and having fun traveling, but hadn't gotten my finances under control," she says. "So I started holding myself financially accountable, saved my money, and began teaching myself about investing."
With 21 percent of the workforce now made up of Millennials - those between the ages of 25 to 34 -- advisors may want to put a bit of muscle into acquiring these prospects, says Deutsche Bank economist Tortsen Sløk. Why? They have some wealth and they're hungry—particularly for advice on how to move forward on their path to fiscal maturity.
But getting seen by Millennials takes more than just creating a website and calling it a day (if you even have a site. You need to know how they want to be approached, what they care about—and understand their unique financial needs.
Show, Don't Tell
Nothing causes Emily Miethner to delete a feed faster than posts that try to sell her a product or service. Miethner, a self-described Millennial and entrepreneur, launched two companies—FindSpark, a peer-community for career tips, and MCG Social, an agency that helps companies engage with her generation online. What piques their interest? Conversations that edify—not preach, she says.
"Just saying, 'Buy my stuff,' that's too direct," she says. "You hear business owners say, 'We replace tires. We don't have an exciting product.' But what about creating a video that shows you how to change a tire in an emergency? Create something helpful."
Forget Social Rules
Post content that also speaks to Millennials and their passions, says Debra Garber, vice president of finance and operation at dlvr.it, a publishing platform that customizes and automates content. Charities and social causes are high on their list. If you're an advisor with a philanthropic bend, play that up on your site, bio and on social media.
Garber often sees Millennials giving their time—and money—generously. A financial advisor supporting a cause that a prospect cares about as well might then get a follow, a like—or even better—an email or call.
"[Millennials are] talking about religion, politics, environmental issues, philanthropy—things we were told, 'Oooh you can't bring that up in social conversations,'" Garber says. "There are a lot of ways to connect and reach them."
Ensuring they can financially support a favorite cause is where a financial advisor is well-suited. Millennials can use the help, says Miethner. They often don't know how to sign up for their company’s 401(k), let alone understand how much to save each week for retirement. Posting educational videos (this group loves YouTube), short posts on mutual funds or details on how to pay student loans may draw eyeballs—and new clients.
"There needs to be more financial education for this generation," she says. "There's a need."
Dore has educated herself, opening an investment account, cutting expenses and buying her first house—all without a financial advisor. Finding one locally, an advisor she could meet with face-to-face who understood her financial needs—and not those of her parents' generation—was impossible, she says.
She knows there have to be advisors that work with Millennials in her region—but when she went online they were invisible to her, she says. Without marketing themselves in a way that she, and her generation can discover, they may as well not exist.
"As a Millennial I don't have the same needs as a Boomer," she says. "But if nothing distinguishes you from another advisor, if you don't show that you cater to Millennial clients, how will I find you?"